BY OWEN GARRETT
The conversation around the Cloud is moving beyond the IT Manager, as professionals from a range of vertical sectors begin to understand how it can improve business efficiencies.
The Cloud unleashes the power of applications and computer workloads, breaking the ties that hold them to physical servers.
This new-found freedom makes possible an entirely new architecture where the hardware serves the applications and the applications serve the business, rather than the other way round.
It is important however for businesses to take into consideration a range of factors before entering the Cloud to ensure they use a strategy that fits their business.
Getting ready for the cloud
Businesses and their IT Managers need to be prepared before entering the Cloud. An audit of the application infrastructure is one of the first steps that needs to be taken to identify components implemented in hardware appliances such as firewalling, intrusion detection, web application firewalls and load balancers. These should then be replaced with software alternatives as part of the next technology refresh. Hardware appliances that weigh the organisation down are best removed and replaced with software to help prepare for the Cloud.
A great deal has been discussed around security and availability in the Cloud in choosing the right entry strategy for a business. This is sure to be something that large Cloud vendors will continue to research and develop solutions for. Something that also needs to be considered however is how companies can use the Cloud in a cost-effective manner on an on-going basis. With potentially infinite space and capacity, businesses need to keep tabs on costs in the Cloud.
Establishing policies is key, while organisations have little problem moving onto the Cloud, IT needs visibility so teams do not excessively overuse the resource, resulting in unexpected large bills. This calls for a solution that avoids cloud ‘lock-in’ to give businesses the flexibility to move from Cloud to Cloud and environment to environment to get the best deal. Using an integrated management solution that gives a co-ordinated view of your application delivery fabric, that may span multiple, geographically distributed Cloud-based environments will also help.
Dynamic applications require a new approach
Cloud has also brought about a change in the way IT professionals approach web traffic management and application development. Businesses now demand access to dynamic applications from wherever they are with exceptional speeds at the lowest cost. Online applications are more complex than ever and require frequent changes and updates, putting increasing pressure on developers and the underlying infrastructure. Virtualised web traffic management solutions enable Datacentre Managers to deliver highly performing applications regardless of where they are deployed – in a Physical datacentre, Virtualised platform or from the Cloud.
Success in the cloud
While there is currently something of a lack of standards and legislation relating to the way the Cloud works, what is clear is that without this flexibility and suitable preparation, many potential users may be put off taking up Cloud. Without the right strategy they would rightly fear unnecessary costs, while others may give up their Cloud endeavours because they are unable to realise the potential of Cloud, as they are locked into an unsuitable provider. However, Cloud is more than a technology, it’s a state of mind, and the business processes that grow up around it need to reflect that. With the right preparation and solutions to hand, these hurdles can be overcome and businesses can position themselves to make their entry to the Cloud a success.
Owen Garrett is a cloud computing specialist for the web traffic management company Zeus Technology